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Description. German settlers that farmed the land in the 1840s and 1850s were among the neighborhood?s earliest residents. Later, Central became the first home for a wide range of ethnic groups immigrating to the city, including Austro-Hungarians, Italians and Jewish immigrants from Poland and Russia which found affordable places to live and plenty of jobs at the nearby foundries and steel mills. African-Americans moved in from the South during the 1930s. It was the city?s most populated neighborhood during the depression and overcrowding eventually led to deteriorating conditions. Slum clearance and highway construction resulted in the demolition of much of the neighborhood?s original housing. Today, the largest concentration of public housing in the city is located in Central.

Assets. Among the neighborhood’s most significant assets are:

  • a concentration of new single-family housing developments,
  • the campuses of Cuyahoga Community College and Cleveland State University
  • St. Vincent Charity Hospital
  • the Northern Ohio Food Terminals where many foods enter the region
  • good access to interstates 77, 90 and 490
  • the presence of numerous other institutions and churches

Challenges. Among the challenges faced by the Central neighborhood today are:

  • large tracts of vacant land that invite illegal dumping and create unwatched, often dangerous areas where crime can occur
  • concentrations of poverty and low levels of home ownership
  • deteriorating older housing
  • lack of quality retail
  • vacant industrial sites
  • junkyards that negatively impact adjacent development
  • lack of park and open space in parts of the neighborhood

Vision. Create a solid residential neighborhood for people of all incomes that benefit from being in close proximity to jobs in Downtown, the Euclid Corridor and the Industrial Valley. Among the development opportunities and initiatives proposed are the following:

  • continue support of housing developments in the City’s Home Ownership Zone
  • develop new retail on vacant land at the East 55 th and Woodland intersection and undertake improvements to make the district more pedestrian friendly
  • assemble sites for commercial and business development in the vicinity of East 55 th and I-490
  • capitalize on Euclid Corridor improvements to attract additional companies
  • construct an RTA transit center at Prospect and East 22 nd near Cleveland State
  • promote investments in public art at Arbor Park, East 55 th and Woodland and the Maingate area
  • rehabilitate East 30 th, Cedar and Woodland/Kinsman and undertake streetscape improvements at the East 55 th/Woodland intersection
  • create bike routes along Community College and East 55 th
  • create a landscaped green space area at the east end of the Homeownership Zone as a buffer from railroad activity

Printable version: can be downloaded here.

Maps (current as of May 2007): Assets, Development Opportunities, Land Use (existing and proposed), and Retail Strategies are available here. (PDF)


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